'Up' takes top Annie Awards on road to Oscars
"Up" won both best picture and director at the 37th annual Annie Awards on Saturday night. The nine-time nominee beat out all four of its competitors for best animated feature at the Oscars -- "Coraline," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Princess and the Frog" and "The Secret of Kells" -- as well as "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."
"Coraline" -- which topped the list with 10 nominations -- won three Annie Awards: character design, music and production design. "Princess" took three of its eight races at the Annie Awards: animated effects, character animation and voice acting. Critics' choice "Fantastic Mr. Fox" won just one of its three nods, for the script by director Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach.
"Beauty and the Beast" -- which, like "Up," was a best picture nominee at the Oscars -- won the first Annie Award for animated feature back in 1991. Since the Academy Awards introduced a separate award for best animated feature in 2001, the winners of the two prizes have matched up six times. The exceptions: in 2006 when "Cars" won the Annie but "Happy Feet" danced off with the Oscar and last year when "Kung Fu Panda" swept the Annie Awards but "Wall-E" waltzed off with the Academy Award.
Although film critics ranked "Wall-E" as one of the top-rated movies of last year, those truly in the know about the art of animation -- members of the International Animated Film Society, who bestow the Annie Awards -- were far less impressed. Of last year's three Oscar contenders, "Kung Fu Panda" led going into the Annie Awards with 16 nominations to eight for "Wall-E" and five for "Bolt." Numbering triple noms in both character animation and voice acting and double noms in storyboarding and production design among its record-tying tally, "Kung Fu Panda" won all 10 categories in which it was competing while "Wall-E" was shut out. And offshoots of "Kung Fu Panda" were also winners at the Annie Awards. The video game claimed an award and TV spinoff "The Secrets of the Furious Five" took four more.
Two years ago, eventual Oscar champ "Ratatouille" was also the clear leader at the Annies, winning nine of its 14 nominations and far outpacing the other two Oscar nominees, "Surf's Up," which won two of 10 nods, and "Persepolis," which went zero for four.
Photo: "Up" DVD cover. Credit: Pixar / Disney